J. Cole Takes Us Home on Forest Hills Drive Tour

The Axis at Planet Hollywood, July 18

7_18_15_j_cole-35North Carolina rapper J. Cole made an auditorium filled with several thousand people feel like an intimate showcase. Dressed as if he were going to a pick-up basketball game—black sweat shorts, T-shirt, knee-high socks and sneakers—and performing in front of a re-creation of his childhood home, the short-dreaded emcee ran through his autobiographical 2014 Forest Hills Drive in its entirety, breaking midway for a trio of older cuts and pausing occasionally for revealing monologues. He discussed puberty (“Wet Dreamz”), fake women (“No Role Modelz”) and breaking out of his small town mentality (“St. Tropez”). All the while, a seven-piece band gave J. Cole’s beats more vibrancy, adding a piano intro to “No Role Modelz” and a drum breakdown on “G.O.M.D.” Though an encore of radio singles made the crowd dance, it was Forest Hills Drive closer “Love Yourz” that hit the heart. Throughout the night, Cole stressed the importance of happiness over money, stating that the rich are often empty. “What do we have that they don’t got?” he asked. The crowd shouted, “Love!” We felt it, and gave it right back. ★★★★✩

Photos by Alexander Zayas

January 28th
Wet Dreamz
’03 Adolescence
Tale of 2 Citiez
Fire Squad
St. Tropez
Light Please
In the Morning
Nobody’s Perfect
No Role Modelz
Love Yourz

Can’t Get Enough
Planes (with Jeremih)
Work Out
Crooked Smile
Power Trip

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